Motherhood – and indeed being a grandmother – is a wonderful gift. In the day-to-day mayhem of looking after children, one can forget that it’s a truly magical experience. So here’s a list of my best (and worst) bits of motherhood…
1. Unconditional love – the moment you meet your new baby you are suffused with love and, amazingly, this tiny creature loves you back with just as much force. It’s wonderful and should be celebrated.
2. Children say the funniest things – when you’re feeling a bit down, nothing works at perking you up like a conversation with a small child. They are, without doubt, funnier than any stand-up comedian.
3. It’s amazing to watch them grow – one minute they’re hardly up to your knee, the next they’re six-feet-two and towering above you. With mine, I like to think this is all down to my cooking rather than nature taking its course.
4. You’re never bored – it’s impossible to be bored when you have children. Apart from the mountains of washing, their inexhaustible need to be fed or the extra journeys they create, they’re always there with heaps of questions. The best my lot ever came up with was the unanswerable “why the sky?”.
5. Perfect excuse to get out of things – as soon as you have a baby you also have a ready made excuse to get out of anything you don’t fancy doing. Offering the lack of babysitter as an excuse can save you from hours of tedious socialising.
6. An excuse to get the paints out – even if you have absolutely no artistic talent at all, it can be huge fun to paint. And with children in the house it really would be remiss of you not to have a go.
7. You get to be a child again – children have the unique ability to make you feel young again and to experience all the simple pleasures anew. Playing on swings and roundabouts, making daisy chains, kicking up autumn leaves and so many more delicious activities are suddenly on the agenda again.
8. You realise what’s important in life – whereas once work dramas, boyfriend woes or even that gorgeous, ruinously expensive pair of shoes seemed like the most important thing on earth. Now you know nothing but your beloved children really matter that much.
9. Children’s TV – unless you are a student, once you reach adulthood you tend to miss out on children’s television. Anyone who has experienced the joy of Peppa Pig will know exactly what I’m talking about.
10. Milestones – in the early days there are so many. The first time the baby smiles or rolls over are terribly exciting. But it doesn’t end there – each year there’s something new to celebrate and it’s truly magical.
1. You become a human tissue – from tears to snot, if there’s a parent in the vicinity the child will find you and wipe whatever offending gunk they have all over your clothes or, worse, in your hair.
2. They can embarrass you terribly – far from being seen and not heard, children wait for the most inopportune moment to ask about your sex life or point out the ‘fat woman’ who is just in earshot.
3. Sleep deprivation – it’s used as a form of torture for very good reason. There are few things worse than drifting off to sleep only to be woken minutes later by a crying baby. And, while it gets better for a few years, by the time they’re in their teens you’re woken by them coming in late or ringing to be picked up.
4. Tantrums – you just can’t plan for them. A coat your adorable toddler was happy to wear yesterday becomes an object worth screaming in fury about just a day later.
5. Terror – your child never stops being your baby. Whether they’re three-months or 30 years old, the worry remains the same. From first days at nursery to first dates, there’s always something to worry about.
6. You get to wear food – yes, that’s right. No white shirt is really complete without what is euphemistically called posset on the shoulder. And, just when you’ve got all dressed up to go out, you know for sure that unless you run there’ll be chocolate handprints on your clean white jeans.
7. You can never go to the loo alone – as soon as a child becomes mobile, they will follow you everywhere. If you attempt to leave them even for a minute, they will scream the house down. This results in absolutely no privacy at all.
8. Danger ahead – there is that terrible phase when they can move independently, but cannot be reasoned with. This results in your having to rugby tackle them away from whatever dangerous mission they have in mind. From busy roads to plug sockets, they’re on to it.
9. Children’s TV – OK, I know I put it on the best list, but some of it is truly desperate, impenetrable nonsense. And don’t get me onto DVDs that you have to watch over and over again. If I hear that Thomas has been a very naughty engine one more time I think I might scream.
10. They leave – perhaps the very worst part of motherhood is watching your darling baby leave for university or to share a flat with a friend. Without them you can find yourself completely bereft.